Substation installed on Birmingham Westside extension as the end of construction comes into sight

Trams should be running to Hagley Road in Edgbaston by the end of 2021 with work on the second phase of the Birmingham Westside West Midlands Metro extension starting to come towards a conclusion. The summer months have seen excellent progress made on this extension with the installation of overhead wires on some sections of the route and now a purpose built substation building is being installed.

Whilst the complete first phase of the Westside extension was built without overhead wires – as the first section of modern UK tramway to be built without wires – it was always the intention that there would be some overhead needed on the remaining line. This will see wires on Broad Street and to the Hagley Road terminus and if there is overhead you need a substation!

The purpose built substation is being constructed within the footprint of Five Ways island and electrical equipment will be lowered in my crane over the coming weeks. To allow for the work to take place safely there will be an overnight closure of Five Ways roundabout, from midnight on Sunday 24th October with a full reopening before 0800 the same morning.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is very exciting to see the final pieces of the jigsaw coming together, showing just how close we are to finishing construction on the extension of the West Midlands Metro line to Edgbaston Village. This route is part of our incredibly ambitious plans to extend the Metro all across the region, helping to create a world-class public transport system that gives people a genuine alternative to the car.”

Other recent work on the extension has seen environmentally friendly grass tracks planted close to the Hagley Road terminus whilst the tramstop there is also set to be installed in the next few weeks.

Once all the infrastructure is in place the commissioning and testing process will start – including the first trams running on the extension. This will see the usual overnight gauging trials to make sure all is as it should be ahead of more extensive testing and driver training.

Cristian Bostan, Midland Metro Alliance’s Head of Integration, said: “Over the coming weeks, as well as providing the opportunity for the vital testing of tracks, signals and other infrastructure, the extensive commissioning programme will also see test trams in this area for the first time, which will allow people to begin getting used to seeing Metro travelling at low speeds through different areas of the city centre ahead of services commencing.”

This phase of the Birmingham Westside extension will take trams from Library to Hagley Road with new three new stops added to the network at Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road (with the latest literature suggesting this may be known as Edgbaston Village). It is due to open before the end of 2021.

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